Artist Leor Grady says the truth is in the bedding
Wed, Feb 29, 2012 (4:36 p.m.)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
While in Calcutta about 20 years ago, Israeli artist Leor Grady watched poor people living on the street as they got ready for bed by cleaning themselves and sweeping the area where they were to sleep. The experience moved him, mainly because, he says, “They did not give up on their humanity.
- Untitled (Bedroom)
- Cosmopolitan's P3 Studio, 6 p.m. -11 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, through March 4
“There are so much poetics and beauty in going to bed and to not judge where you are, but to own where you are.”
The artist, whose work today mostly explores home and identity politics, delves into themes of personal and public space in his residency at Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio, an installation/performance piece called Untitled (Bedroom).
There, a wall of stacked pillows and a pile of sheets create not just a dichotomy of personal and public, but also of quiet and loud. The materials’ familiarity helps visitors to respond, which, Grady says, is essential to his work, adding that the viewer experience, rather than the objects, is the art.
That’s why, sitting behind the pile of crumpled sheets and wall of stacked pillows, is a writing station for guests to record their thoughts, which Grady then embroiders onto a handkerchief (a link to Yemeni craft). He’s documenting the participation with photographs for a book and says that the strongest experiences of viewers in his spaces are personal and intimate: “They’re comfortable and open to exploring.”
But comfort and safety come with another contrast: “The pillows also look like sandbags, a kind of protection, and the bedroom is the safest place in the house. That’s when you let go, but when sleeping, you’re most susceptible to danger.”
To finish the performance, Grady is ironing hundreds of sheets and stacking them to make a conceptual bed. He’s done variations of the pillow wall in different contexts. Using linens in Las Vegas, he says, is a fitting nod to the housekeepers here who have the most important jobs.